News

Power restored at Stanford after dayslong outage last week

University set to resume classes Monday; Edgewood Fire in Woodside said to be the cause

Stanford University has canceled classes on June 22, 2022, due to a power outage caused by the Edgewood Fire in San Mateo County. Embarcadero Media file photo by Sinead Chang.

Update: On Friday night, PG&E said power was restored to Stanford University and other areas affected by a power outage that stemmed from the Edgewood Fire in San Mateo County, which sparked on June 21.

Summer session classes were scheduled to resume on Monday. Normal campus operations and programs will resume as staffing allows. Main campus employees were advised to resume their work routines they had in place on Monday before the power disruption. Labs are scheduled to reopen once normal power is restored, the university said.

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A power failure caused by damage to transmission equipment from the Edgewood Fire in San Mateo County has caused Stanford University to cancel classes through Friday, according to the university.

Stanford sent out an alert on Tuesday afternoon, announcing that one of PG&E's main transmission lines feeding the campus was reportedly down. Efforts were underway to try to transfer power to an alternate line, according to AlertSU, the university's emergency alert system.

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The university later announced it was canceling summer session classes, conferences and day camps for Wednesday, then at around 5 p.m. Wednesday it announced the suspension of classes through Friday.

"Given the increasing possibility of a multiple-day disruption and the time required to re-start classrooms and equipment even once power is restored, summer session classes are canceled for Thursday and Friday, June 23-24. Conference activities are being held in alternative spaces. Bing Nursery School, Madera Grove, CCSC and Stock Farm Road childcare facilities will also be closed for the rest of the week. The health, safety and academic pursuits of our students remains a top priority. The university is working on plans for academic continuity and continued residential care for students living on campus. More information will be forthcoming," the university said.

Cellular service also is affected in some parts of campus and the university distributed flashlights to student residences that are without generator power.

Employees who work on the main Stanford campus are being encouraged to work from home. Operations at Stanford Redwood City, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Stanford Research Park are not affected by the outage.

PG&E has not provided an estimated time of power restoration, the university said.

The fire that caused the power failure broke out on Tuesday afternoon in an area near Emerald Hills in Woodside and as of Tuesday night had spread to 25 acres, Cal Fire officials said in a press conference. On Wednesday morning, Cal Fire reduced the acreage count to 20.

Some power was restored to cooling equipment for Stanford Hospital and other critical infrastructure, the university said on Tuesday evening. Health care services have not been impacted by the outage, according to Stanford's IT department.

On Tuesday, the university set up respite locations for food and access to power on campus and moved portable light stations into some student areas to provide outdoor lighting. Parking garages were closed due to dark conditions.

Julie Greicius, senior director of external communications for Stanford Medicine, said on Wednesday that services at Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals are proceeding on schedule.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation and prioritizing our responses to ensure the highest quality patient care, comfort, and safety," she said in an email.

On Tuesday, the university set up respite locations for food and access to power on campus and moved portable light stations into some student areas to provide outdoor lighting. Parking garages were closed due to dark conditions but were reopened on Wednesday, the university said. In a Wednesday night update, Stanford said power returned to additional student residences, but was still short of a full campus restoration.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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Power restored at Stanford after dayslong outage last week

University set to resume classes Monday; Edgewood Fire in Woodside said to be the cause

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 9:45 am
Updated: Mon, Jun 27, 2022, 9:08 am

Update: On Friday night, PG&E said power was restored to Stanford University and other areas affected by a power outage that stemmed from the Edgewood Fire in San Mateo County, which sparked on June 21.

Summer session classes were scheduled to resume on Monday. Normal campus operations and programs will resume as staffing allows. Main campus employees were advised to resume their work routines they had in place on Monday before the power disruption. Labs are scheduled to reopen once normal power is restored, the university said.

---

A power failure caused by damage to transmission equipment from the Edgewood Fire in San Mateo County has caused Stanford University to cancel classes through Friday, according to the university.

Stanford sent out an alert on Tuesday afternoon, announcing that one of PG&E's main transmission lines feeding the campus was reportedly down. Efforts were underway to try to transfer power to an alternate line, according to AlertSU, the university's emergency alert system.

The university later announced it was canceling summer session classes, conferences and day camps for Wednesday, then at around 5 p.m. Wednesday it announced the suspension of classes through Friday.

"Given the increasing possibility of a multiple-day disruption and the time required to re-start classrooms and equipment even once power is restored, summer session classes are canceled for Thursday and Friday, June 23-24. Conference activities are being held in alternative spaces. Bing Nursery School, Madera Grove, CCSC and Stock Farm Road childcare facilities will also be closed for the rest of the week. The health, safety and academic pursuits of our students remains a top priority. The university is working on plans for academic continuity and continued residential care for students living on campus. More information will be forthcoming," the university said.

Cellular service also is affected in some parts of campus and the university distributed flashlights to student residences that are without generator power.

Employees who work on the main Stanford campus are being encouraged to work from home. Operations at Stanford Redwood City, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Stanford Research Park are not affected by the outage.

PG&E has not provided an estimated time of power restoration, the university said.

The fire that caused the power failure broke out on Tuesday afternoon in an area near Emerald Hills in Woodside and as of Tuesday night had spread to 25 acres, Cal Fire officials said in a press conference. On Wednesday morning, Cal Fire reduced the acreage count to 20.

Some power was restored to cooling equipment for Stanford Hospital and other critical infrastructure, the university said on Tuesday evening. Health care services have not been impacted by the outage, according to Stanford's IT department.

On Tuesday, the university set up respite locations for food and access to power on campus and moved portable light stations into some student areas to provide outdoor lighting. Parking garages were closed due to dark conditions.

Julie Greicius, senior director of external communications for Stanford Medicine, said on Wednesday that services at Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals are proceeding on schedule.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation and prioritizing our responses to ensure the highest quality patient care, comfort, and safety," she said in an email.

On Tuesday, the university set up respite locations for food and access to power on campus and moved portable light stations into some student areas to provide outdoor lighting. Parking garages were closed due to dark conditions but were reopened on Wednesday, the university said. In a Wednesday night update, Stanford said power returned to additional student residences, but was still short of a full campus restoration.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Comments

wmconlon
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2022 at 2:21 am
wmconlon, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jun 24, 2022 at 2:21 am

This story highlights the risks of relying on remote resources for essential services. Although the power outage was due to fire, it could just as easily have resulted from earthquake, terrorism, storms or mechanical failure.

Of course the outage was amplified by Stanford's arrogance and folly in closing its Cardinal Cogen facility in order to reduce the on-campus carbon footprint. Like with City of Palo Alto Utilities, Stanford uses carbon neutrality i.e., procuring sufficient solar energy to cover its annual needs, to avoid the much harder problem of carbon-free, and exports its carbon to other communities. Like Palo Alto, with its single point of failure at the Colorado Avenue substation, Stanford placed essential reliability at risk by not providing local generation.

Both Palo Alto and Stanford could mitigate some of the risk by a short interconnection to permit each entity to be served by geographically diverse transmission lines. Palo Alto would rather spend the money on Fiber to the Home than address pressing reliability issues. Perhaps Stanford and CPAU could consider a cost-sharing arrangement to provide redundancy.

But if I were king, I would install a compact gas turbine power plant for just such an emergency, and try to snag some of Newsom's $5 billion for reliability. A good location would be the Fry's parking lot with easy access to the Park Boulevard substation and high pressure gas supply.


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